Sunday, June 13, 2021

What's on the Boswell bestseller list this week (ending June 12, 2021)?

What's selling at Boswell this week?

Hardcover Fiction:
1. Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead
2. Raft of Stars, by Andrew J Graff
3. The Blacktongue Thief, by Christopher Buehlman
4. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
5. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
6. While Justice Sleeps, by Stacey Abrams
7. The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris
8. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
9. The Hidden Palace, by Helene Wecker
10. Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch, by Rivka Galchen
Seven years after The Golem and the Jinni became a national bestseller, Helene Wecker returns with The Hidden Palace. Publishers Weekly wrote: "Whereas the first installment was a propulsive battle of good versus evil, this delightful entry is more serialized storytelling à la Dickens. Throughout, Wecker pulls off an impressive juggling act with the many characters, all of whom are well positioned for another sequel." And from Kirkus's starred review: "Wecker skillfully combines the storylines of these and numerous other players, good and evil, in a story that, while self-contained, gives every promise of being continued. An enchanting tale that, though demanding lots of suspended disbelief, pleases on every page." I know you shouldn't quibble with good reviews, but what fantasy novel does not demand suspended disbelief?

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Hormone Intelligence, by Aviva Romm
2. How the Word Is Passed, by Clint Smith
3. Shape, by Jordan Ellenberg
4. Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
5. Premonition, by Michael Lewis
6. Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
7. Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
8. Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten House, by Nicholas Hayes
9. Finding the Mother Tree, by Suzanne Simard
10. Daughters of Kobani, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

That's two weeks in our top ten for How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America from Atlantic writer Clint Smith. The book's currently out of stock with the publisher - hoping for more soon. From Evicted author Matthew Desmond: ""A work of moral force and humility, How the Word is Passed offers a compelling account of the history and memory of slavery in America. Writing from Confederate Army cemeteries, former plantations, modern-day prisons, and other historical sites, Clint Smith moves seamlessly between past and present, revealing how slavery is remembered and misremembered - and why it matters. Engaging and wise, this book combines history and reportage, poem, and memoir. It is a deep lesson and a reckoning."

Paperback Fiction:
1. Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell
2. Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu
3. Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
4. One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston
5. The Last Bookshop in London, by Madeline Martin
6. Bone Broth, by Lyndsey Ellis
7. Social Grace, by Renée Rosen ($5 Tickets for June 21 event here)
8. Squeeze me, by Carl Hiaasen
9. The Overstory, by Richard Powers
10. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich

The Pulitzers have been announced and Louis Erdrich has received the prize for fiction for The Night Watchman, following a National Book Award prize for The Round House and two National Book Critics Circle Award winners - Love Medicine and LaRose (in 1984 and 2016). I would say this is the EGOT of American publishing, but now that American prizes qualify for the Booker, that is another prize to aim for. Ron Charles in The Washington Post: "This tapestry of stories is a signature of Erdrich’s literary craft, but she does it so beautifully that it’s tempting to forget how remarkable it is."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, by Bryan Massingale
2. 111 Places in Milwaukee that You Must Not Miss, by Michelle Madden
3. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
4. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
5. Filthy Beasts, by Kirkland Hamill
6. Spirit Run, by Noe Alvarez
7. People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
8. Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, by Anna Lardinois (Register for July 13 event here)
9. Drawing Lesson, by Mark Crilley
10. Wildflowers of Wisconsin Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela

Out in paperback is Kirkland Hamill's memoir, Filthy Beasts. Hamill joined us virtually for the hardcover, in conversation with Christina Clancy. No change in the book jacket on this one, but two recs at Boswell, one from me and one from Chris. From the Kirkus Reviews write up: "The book, Hamill’s debut, is not a typical riches-to-rags reversal, though that’s a prominent theme. Instead, the author explores in visceral detail how children of addicted caregivers struggle to construct meaning, establish their own identities, and simply survive while living in the wake of a family illness. Hamill is a gifted storyteller, crafting scenes and dialogue that read like a riveting novel. There are casualties in this tale, both real and figurative, but there are also many triumphs."

Books for Kids:
1. City Spies V1, by James Ponti
2. Regina Is Not a Little Dinosaur, by Andrea Zulli
3. Amina's Song V2, by Hena Khan
4. Elephant in the Room, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
5. City Spies V2: Golden Gate, by James Ponti
6. Starfish, by Lisa Fipps
7. Last Fallen Star V1, by Graci Kim
8. Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley (register for June 29 event here)
9. Billy Miller Makes a Wish, by Kevin Henkes
10. And Then Came Hope, by Stephen Savage

It's always fun to see a book talk generate nice sales pops. One book that Tim recommended was part of my presentation for a group of school librarians -  Regina Is Not a Little Dinosaur, by Andrea Zulli. It's the story of a dino who thanks she's big enough to hunt. Tim noted it's hard not to fall in love with Regina, and Booklist felt the same: "Regina's expressions are priceless, and she becomes a fully realized character in only a few pages, her emotive eyes flashing with glee, rage, or panic in turn. Young readers (and their adults) will laugh out loud at the relatable protagonist and her adorable antics." Zulli's latest also has an Indie Next pick from Liesl Freudenstein at Bolder Book Store.

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